Friday, June 16, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Bill on military tribunal on anvil
By Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Shaken out of its slumber by the Supreme Court’s observation that the Army Act is archaic and that the government has failed to bring about the necessary changes, the Defence Ministry is now preparing to table the bill on the much-awaited military appellate tribunal in Parliament during the forthcoming monsoon session.

The proposal for setting up the tribunal was granted approval by the Defence Minister as far back as July, 1999, following which the draft was sent to the Law Ministry for its comments and final approval.

The draft, sent back by the Law Ministry after being duly approved, has been lying with the Defence Ministry for some time. “It will be placed before Parliament for enactment in the coming session,” an Army Headquarters source said.

As per the revised structure, the tribunal, chaired by a retired Supreme Court Judge, will have its principal bench based at New Delhi, with benches at five other places across the country.

The principal bench will have eight members — four from the judiciary and four retired servicemen — composing of four division benches. The retired servicemen will be of the rank of Major-General and above or the equivalents in the other two services.

The other five benches based at Jammu, Lucknow, Chennai, Guwahati and at Mumbai or Pune, will be headed by a Vice-Chairman and have two division benches. A retired judge of the High Court will be appointed as the Vice-Chairman.

Based on a 1982 Supreme Court judgement, the Law Commission had, in March last year, put forth a number of recommendations concerning the setting up of a appellate tribunal.

The original proposal had envisioned a three-member tribunal, headed by a retired civilian judge and having a serving as well as a former Judge Advocate General (JAG) as its members. The JAG, holds the rank of a Major-General and heads the Army’s JAG department which is responsible for rendering all legal advice to formation commanders in administrative and disciplinary matters.

The jurisdiction of the tribunal, common for all three services, would be all service matters, including disciplinary matters and courts martial. The administrative members, in the tribunal, that is the ex-serviceman members, will be of the service of which the matters in question relates to.

The tribunal is expected to have all powers to determine any question necessary to do justice in a case as well as to order a new trial where conviction is quashed.


Power privatisation process in UT may be delayed
By Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, June 15 — The process of privatisation of power distribution in the Union Territory may be delayed as the formal permission from the Union Home Ministry is still to come through.

Since Chandigarh continues to be centrally administered Union Territory, no final policy decision can be taken without the prior consent of the Union Home Ministry. In the power distribution case, though all necessary permissions and clearances have been obtained by the Chandigarh Administration from the Union Ministry of Power, it did not occur to the Administration that the Ministry of Home had to consent before the matter could be pursued any further.

Sources in the Administration reveal that after this realisation, a proposal was immediately forwarded to the Union Home Ministry. Inspite of two reminders, there has been no response from the Home Ministry to the proposal so far.

Initially, the Administration was proposing to invite tenders to appoint a consultant by July this year. After a high-powered committee under the Secretary, Ministry of Power, met in the union capital and decided to constitute another high-power committee under the chairmanship of the Adviser to the Administrator with Secretary, Engineering, as its Secretary, to consider the feasibility of privatising power distribution.

Since the Administration had already taken a decision to privatise power distribution, the Union Energy Ministry in a subsequent communication suggested to disband this high-powered committee.

Besides the high-power committee, another Committee, the Empowered Committee, again headed by the Adviser to the Administrator, has also been constituted which has Joint Secretaries from Ministry of Power, Power Grid Corporation besides the Secretary, Engineering, as its Member-Secretary not only to work out modalities, but also to oversee Notice Inviting tenders for appointment of consultants.approval of consultants, consider report of consultant and take further decision about allotment of work to private Sector to look after power distribution in the Union Territory.

But the work of the Empowered Committee has now been held up for want of clearance from the Union Home Ministry. The Committee cannot issue notice inviting bids from consultants as Union Home Ministry may, for one reason or the other, may not approve of privatisation of power distribution.

Though the chances of such a decision turning down the plea of the Administration is unlikely, but the Empowered Committee cannot go ahead with its work in anticipation of "green signal" from the Home Ministry.

Meanwhile, the NTPC has reportedly submitted its feasibility report for setting up gas-based captive power generation unit at Chandigarh. Initially the Administration was planning a Naptha-based power generation unit here which was later changed to the gas-based generation.

The NTPC, asked the Union Power Ministry, has submitted its feasibility report expeditiously. A final clearance from Ministry of Petroleum is awaited for laying of gas pipeline.


No arrests so far in Sangeeta case
By Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, June 15 — After going on a tirade against the alleged to be pimps operating from Sector 44, the strife-torn Sangeeta still has a long way to go. Even after five days of registration of an FIR against accused Sunita Bhatia, Vipin Bhatia and Shreshtha, the city police is yet to achieve a major breakthrough in the case which has come to define moral standards of the city.

Slack progress in the case is, meanwhile, bothering not only Sangeeta who is directly bearing the brunt, but also the various human rights activists who have taken up her cause. When Chandigarh Tribune caught up with Sangeeta outside her Sector 44-C residence (where she had been earlier staying with the three accused) she was still sitting outside on her cot. That is the way she has been living since the day she was allegedly thrown out of the house by Sunita and Vipin, who is said to have married both Sunita and Sangeeta.

“It has almost been 22 days since I have been living like this, with no home or hearth. Earlier they threw me out. Now I have sworn that I will not go anywhere until the three are arrested,” said Sangeeta who has been sitting outside the house of Sunita and Vipin Bhatia in protest.

Aasha Rana, Vice-President, Janwadi Istri Sabha, who has been giving shelter to Sangeeta all this while said that it was difficult to understand why no arrests were being effected. Many other human rights activists were also visibly perturbed by slack progress and the members of Lawyers for Human Rights International also called a meeting this evening to decide what was to be done in case no breakthrough was soon achieved.

It is learnt that the activists will stage a dharna outside the SSP’s office in case the accused are not arrested. The investigating officer, when contacted, said that he was in the process of collecting evidence against the accused. He said that Sangeeta would have to produce documents to validate her claim that she was married to Vipin Bhatia. Further the police had to attain record from places where her kids were born.

Meanwhile, accused Sunita Bhatia moved her anticipatory bail application which was taken up by UT Additional Sessions Judge Mrs Sneh Prashar today. The Judge has issued notice to the State on the same for June 17.

It is further learnt from reliable sources that Vipin Bhatia was likely to surrender in the case.



PGI without working treadmill test machine
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, June 15 — The Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), the premier Institute of this region, is presently not offering cardiac patients the facility of the tread mill test as the old obsolete machine is lying condemned and the new one is yet to arrive.

Sources revealed that the machine, which is essential to monitor the blood pressure, heart rate and ECG changes in cardiac patients as they exercised, had been out of order for almost three years. Since the machine had become obsolete in technology and the spares of the same were no longer available, a few months back the machine was condemned for use by the authorities, they said.

While this machine is waiting to be auctioned and the new one is yet to come, patients are facing lot of inconvenience as they are either being referred to Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32 or are forced to go to the go to private diagnostic centres and pay much higher charges for the test.

One of the technicians said the machine started developing problems of spares due to constant wear and tear for the last 13 years. As many as 10-15 tests were done daily when the machine was in working order. For quite some time, spares were being procured with great difficulty to keep it functional, but now spares were either not available or if at all some parts were available, the cost of the same was exorbitant.

Dr Anil Grover, who is the in charge of the non-invasive labs admitted that the machine was lying condemned. “The test is mainly used to diagnose whether invasive tests like coronary angiography should be done or not in a patient suffering from angina,’’ he informed.

It assumed significance as patients, mostly in the age group of 30-40 years, who were otherwise not suffering from any heart problem had to be given benefit of doubt and to also prevent doing angiography in most cases, he said.

Dr Grover maintained that the machine had out lived its utility since more than 10,000 tests were done when it was functional and the cost of the same had also been recovered.

Keeping in view its frequent use, Dr Grover had in 1995 written to the then Director, Dr B.K Sharma, to replace the same as the machine was likely to break down in the next one year and spares of the same were not available. But the authorities did not pay any heed to this and the machine broke down in 199.

Even after that not much was done to procure the machine. The orders were finally placed in October 1999 and the new machine is likely to come within a month or two. The machine has to be imported, so PGI is awaiting the custom duty clearance from the Health Ministry.

He said the fallout of this test not being available was that “we are overdoing angiography, which can be in most cases be avoided after this test. The cath lab can then be put to better use of definite patients. Moreover, the patients in some cases are paying Rs 1000 privately for getting this test, whereas in the PGI this facility was being made available for only Rs 100.”Back


Grills, barbed wires removed from road berms
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, June 15 — The enforcement staff of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation today cleared road berms of Sector 44-B of all encroachments, including grills, fencing and barbed wires.

The enforcement staff removed all those encroachments which have not been removed voluntarily by house owners. The enforcement staff also broke those ramps which were overlapping the road, kerb channels thus preventing smooth flow of storm water.

There were some complaints by residents that certain road berm encroachments were not cleared by the enforcement staff. In one case, the extended door of a house was not removed while in another case extended road berm was also not touched.

The officials accompanying the enforcement team, however, clarified that in case the house owners undertook to remove the encroachments and clear the road berms by this evening on their own, they were given allowed to do it themselves. In case, these encroachments were not cleared voluntarily by tomorrow, these would be removed by the staff before the work on laying fresh black tops of all roads in the sector starts.Back


Guide maps: tenders to be invited again
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, June 15 — With the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC) slated to discuss the issue of the installation of the illuminated sector-guide maps tomorrow, the tenders for the same are likely to be invited again.

It may be recalled that the civic body had allotted the contract of one zone covering Sectors 1 to 19 and Sectors 26 to 28 to the Selvel Media Services Ltd. However, when the issue relating to the installation of maps was cleared by Punjab and Haryana High Court recently, several firms, which had not even offered sponsorships in response to the press notices last year, approached the civic body and urged the civic body to invite the tenders again as they were ready to pay revenue to the corporation.

The civic body agenda, while putting the record straight, informed that the Resource Generation Committee, at its meeting held on September 16,1999, had decided to invite sponsorships for various activities of the MCC. As many as 31 firms had offered sponsorships for various items and ultimately the corporation selected three items — roundabouts and crossings, sector-guide maps and streetlights.

While for the roundabouts 12 offers were received, for the sector-guide maps six sponsors came forward. For the maps, the city was divided into three zones. Besides Selvel, Modern Advertising was allotted Sectors 39 to 47, Industrial Area (I and II) and Mani Majra. Similarly, the Traffic Management Services were allotted Sectors 20 to 25, and Sectors 29 to 38.

The three firms were told to submit the samples of the maps. Only Selvel submitted the samples and got them approved. Then again the firms were asked to quote their rates for the guide maps in sealed cover along with earnest money. Only Selvel deposited Rs 1 lakh but refused to offer any amount saying that capital cost of a map was between Rs 50,000 to Rs 70,000 which was to become the property of the corporation after three years. The other two firms did not submit any earnest money.

The samples of the maps had already been approved by UT Chief Architect with the condition that the advertisement is to be restricted to one feet at the bottom of the panel, the agenda added.


Bridge across nullah by year-end likely
Tribune News Service

PANCHKULA, June 15—The work for constructing a bridge over the nullah running in Sector 1 has got underway and is likely to be completed by the end of the year. Being built by the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA), the bridge will connect Sector 6 to the Mini Secretariat in Sector 1.

The estimated cost for the bridge is Rs 33 lakh and was sanctioned in 1999. This will be built on the same lines as those constructed over the nullah by the department concerned in Sectors 4 and 12. The only other remaining sector of the city with the nullah and without a bridge is Phase I of the Industrial Area.

Sources in the department said two roads, one from behind the Suraj theatre complex in Sector 1 and another beginning from the dividing road of Sectors 1 and 6 near the Red Bishop complex will converge onto the bridge and lead directly to the judicial complex.

While the open space on one side of the bridge under construction is earmarked for the residential plots for officers and staff working in the district Secretariat, the open space on the other side of the bridge near the theatre has been reserved for a shopping complex which will come up at a later stage.

Officials of the department stated only after their completion the development works in progress in the area, other plans prepared for the area would take the final shape.

Also, the proposed bridge would have adequate lighting arrangement which will be undertaken by the electricity wing of HUDA, the sources added.Back



Residential complex opened
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, June 15 — The residential complex of the Central Forensic Institute was inaugurated at Sectors 36-B and 37-B by Mr B.B. Nanda, DG, Bureau of Police Research and Development, here today. The foundation stone of the complex was laid by Mr Joginder Singh, a former DG of the bureau in 1996.

With this, one of the major problems of the staff posted at Chandigarh has been solved since the staff was earlier scattered all over the city and the neighbouring towns and valuable time was lost in rushing experts to the scene of a crime. The facility will serve the staff of the CFSL, the Government Examiner of Questioned Documents and the Central Detective Training School.

There are 89 flats of assorted categories. While here are 76 flats in Sector 37-B, there are 13 in Sector 36-B. A large number of officers and staff were present on the occasion. 


Civic body’s effigy burnt
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, June 15 — The local unit of Samajwadi Party today burnt the effigy of Chandigarh Municipal Corporation and blocked road for more than one hour under a Jan Andolan to press their demands.

The party leaders criticised the BJP and the Congress for not giving due attention towards the basic amenities to the slum dwellers in various colonies. They also criticised the indifferent attitude of the Chandigarh Administration to implement the rehabilitation policy.

In a statement, Mr Shivi Jaswaj, President and Mr DS Dhillon, General Secretary, said that the party will go on protesting against the failure of BJP and Congress parties. 


Freedom, at last, in Chhat Bir
By Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

CHHAT BIR, June15 - Freedom did not come so easily to these two guests at Chhat Bir Zoo. They had to wait for hours in the premises of a Ludhiana court and then had to travel in a highly fortified ambulance to reach this place. These are two sloth bears who have been brought here all the way from Ludhiana following the directions of the District Sessions Court, Ludhiana.

These bears were rescued from their owners who had been illegally using them for ‘tamasha’ in violation of the Animal Protection Act. This practice has already landed their two owners in the district jail till they furnish their bail surety.

Raju and Sonu, the two male bears have had a real taste of freedom when they opened their eyes to the open and natural environs of the zoo. Now they are being kept in an enclosure specially vacated to accommodate them.

They are enjoying their freedom and have no fears now. After all they don’t have to entertain the crowds following the orders of their masters. Moreover they can laze around in the calm and cool environs of the zoo. They are no more at the mercy of the ‘madaaris’ who would use them to earn their livelihood.

The noose tied to their sensitive nostrils have been removed surgically by the zoo authorities. “They are being treated as guests as they are to be kept here till the proceedings of the court. But we will ask for the cost of maintenance when they will be shifted to their final destination in a zoo.” said Dr Venod Sharma, the Director of Chhat Bir Zoo.

The bears in a bad and worn out shape were rescued by the activists of the People for Animals Organisation from Issewal village of Ludhiana District a couple of days back. The activists of the organisation raided the village when the ‘madaris’ were making these bears entertain the crowd. A wildlife inspector brought these bears to the court from where these bears were boarded in an ambulance to be brought to this zoo.

When the bears were being brought to the zoo on the directions of the court in a strongly fortified ambulance of PFA, the seats, shanks, pipes and thick iron wall of the ambulance had to bear the brunt of the anger of otherwise subdued animals. They tore apart the seats, pulled the shank and iron pipes. A thin iron partition between the driver’s seat and rear enclosure was also damaged by the wild travellers. It was sheer good luck of the driver and co-passengers that the bears could not break the glass partition between the driver’s seat and the rear side of the ambulance.

After reaching here in the zoo they were calmed down by the zoo authorities who administered doses of tranquilisers and finally managed to leave them in the enclosure. Now they are being fed with ‘khichri’, bread, vegetables and fruits and are adapting to the new surroundings.

“Initially when they had come here they were quite subdued but now they are coming back to their wild best and are becoming aggressive.” said Mr Sharma.


Short-cut to station yet to open
By Ambika Kumar

PANCHKULA, June 15 — The much-needed short-cut to the railway station from Panchkula is yet to be opened for public. The project, according to railway authorities, is ready to take off but green signal from the Central authorities is awaited.

The officials, when contacted, conceded that the short cut would reduce the distance considerably, besides reducing the traffic flow on the main road, but in the absence of a nod from the authorities the work is under suspension.

This is not all. Even though the building of the booking office is ready, the work has not started following lack of required infrastructure including computers, telephone connections and air conditioners.

“It is going to be much easier for us as well as the Chandigarh residents. This will cut down the rush on both the sides, but I wonder when we can actually benefit from it”, says Panchkula resident Mrs Navpreet Grewal.

Another resident said; “The new route is going to save on a lot of time, besides avoiding the congested areas. Now we will be able to reach the station quicker and also buying a ticket is going to be much more convenient”.

Even people from Chandigarh seem to be happier with this arrangement. “By having a separate route and booking counter for the Panchkula residents, we are going to benefit too. Save time as well as avoid heavy traffic approaching the station”, asserts Col. Aulukh.


2 held for causing harassment
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, June 15 — The police has arrested two Government Medical College and Hospital employees for harassing another employee, who subsequently committed suicide here today.

According to police sources, the body of the 30-year-old deceased, Bhinder Singh, was recovered by the police from the Prayas building in Sector 38. He is said to have consumed some poisonous substance. In a suicide note recovered from his pocket, he alleged that he was being harassed by his colleagues, store in charge B. P. Mishra and store clerk Kamaljit Singh, to sign some papers to cover up embezzlement of medicines from the store.

Since he could not live with the constant threats and mental torture he was taking the extreme step, he wrote. A case under Section 306/ 34, IPC, has been registered.

Dowry complaint: Ms Sonia, a resident of Sector 11, lodged a complaint against Aman Chopra, a resident of Sector 19-A, for being harassed for bringing inadequate dowry.

Sources said she alleged that she was married in 1996 in a lavish marriage ceremony by her parents. While things went smoothly for some time, the demands for dowry increased and she was beaten and mentally tortured by her in-laws. She was sent to her home on many occasions and her parents too were taunted whenever they visited her. She has named Inderpal Chopra and Santosh, her father-in-law and mother-in-law as the other accused.

She, unable to bear with the repeated humiliation, ultimately came back to her parents home and lodged the complaint. A case under Section 406, 498-A, IPC, has been registered. No arrests have been carried out.

One dies in mishap: Scooterist Sanjeev Kumar succumbed to his injuries after being hit and injured by a CTU bus near Durga nursery. The driver sped away from the scene of the crime. A case under Section 279/304-A, IPC, has been registered.

Case for overcharging: The police has registered a case against Gurmit Singh, contractor of the Sukhna Lake parking lot for overcharging. A case under Section 420, IPC, has been registered.

Theft reported: Raipur Khurd resident Balram Dass reported that someone had stolen gold jewellery besides Rs 3, 000 in cash from his residence. A case under Section 454\380, IPC, has been registered.



Paper leakage: one more gets police remand
From Our Correspondent

CHANDIGARH, June 15 - A student, Ashwini Gupta, of the Department of Mathematics, Panjab University, was produced before the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Sant Parkash, for his alleged role in the paper leakage case. He was arrested by the CBI yesterday and has been sent to the police remand till June 18 by the judge.

Ashwini Gupta is the fifth one in the CBI net after Dr Sodhi Ram, Controller of Examination, Dhan Singh, Anurag Gupta and Sukhwinder Singh. All of them are alleged to have been involved in the leakage of question papers of the class B.Sc(III)-Honours back in May 1998.

The public prosecutor argued that the accused had confessed to his involvement in the case and allegedly helped others in the crime. The public prosecutor further argued that the accused be sent to the police remand for at least ten days to help recover the important documents.

The Judge after hearing the arguments sent the accused to the police remand till June 18 for facilitating the investigation process.


Youth drowned in Sutlej
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, June 15—Family members of Sandeep Singh, a resident of Sarangpur village, have lodged a complaint with the Nangal police that their son, who had gone to Manikaran Sahib in Himachal Pradesh, went missing when he went to bathe in the Sutlej river at Babhour Sahib Gurdwara near the Nangal dam.

The youth, along with family members, had halted at the gurdwara on way back to Chandigarh. In a daily diary report (DDR) lodged with the Ropar police, sister of the youth Taranpreet Kaur said when they went to look for him they found his clothes lying along the banks of the river. 


Punwire employees hold rally
Tribune News Service

SAS NAGAR, June 15 — Alleging that the Punjab Government was planning to sell off Punwire, the Punjab Wireless Systems Employees Union aided by other trade unions of Punjab and Chandigarh yesterday held a rally in front of the factory here today. It was decided to form a joint committee of different unions to spearhead the agitation in the future.

Addressing the rally, Mr Sahid Ahmed, president of the Punjab Wireless System Employees Union, claimed that a visit by the son of union minister Sukhdev Singh Dhinsa to the factory had made the employees believe that he was interested in buying the company. In the next meeting of the joint action committee scheduled for June 15, it has been decided that all representatives of political parties, Members of Parliament and MLAs would be invited.

Alleging that the case of Punwire was similar to Powerpack, which the son of the Chief Minister of Punjab was interested in buying, the leaders said a joint agitation to save Punwire and Powerpack was being launched. They threatened dire consequences if the government did anything to sell the company.

Meanwhile, the 24-hour hunger strike by the Punwire Employees Coordination Committee in front of Udyog Bhavan in Chandigarh ended today. As many as 51 employees took part in the hunger strike.

Mr Hans Raj Verma, convener of the committee, said the main demand was release of Rs 50 crore for revival of the company.

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